Digital Boomers Insight & Report

In 2018 we published a report which considered how technology can be better used across Essex to promote independent living for older people. We found some perception-busting evidence on how older people in Essex are using tech and considered what we might do to enhance this with regards to health and wellbeing.

RETHINK Partners & Healthwatch Essex Insight undertook insight across the county, meeting face to face with citizens and professionals: travelling to 24 of our towns and villages to have 160 face-to-face conversations, 21 in-depth interviews and 10 discussion groups. We found, that in Essex:

  1. older people are more tech savvy than they realise and professionals and family members regularly underestimate this; we are a significant limiting factor through our unsubstantiated but deeply held assumptions
  2. older people trust their peers to recommend tech and share experiences and are happy to learn from young people – they would also trust professionals to recommend health related tech
  3. older people want to have fun with tech and don’t want to be targeted as ‘old people’
  4. older people want to use tech to connect with their loved ones and sometimes have a competitive streak when adopting new knowledge
  5. not every community has a go-to knowledgeable ‘techie’ person for advice and support, but where they do, it builds confidence and increases take-up
  6. older people don’t feel they are doing tech ‘right’ and are just getting by – but this isn’t stopping them having a go
  7. our community and voluntary sectors risk being digitally left behind by a lack of investment in skills and infrastructure due to old-style funding models – they could be providing vital support to older people with the right training and investment
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